The secret to photographing toddlers isn’t in a fast shutter speed. It’s not about your ISO or what type of lens you have. The secret to getting the best photos of a wiggly and FAST toddler is to work with them instead of against them.
I learned a long time ago that you cannot make a baby, toddler or child do something they don’t want to do during a photo session. I learned that you must make your idea their idea and run with it. Sometimes this shows up in the form of manipulating the situation. If I see a little one that enjoys pushing the limits, I might tell them…you better not smile at me. Or I’m going to come get you!
And if a toddler just want to move, we MOVE. I will have parents swing them until I count down to a pause so I can take the photo. I will have one parent chase them into the arms of another parent.
Whatever your method, just remember to make all the energy work to your advantage. Making a wiggly toddler sit still is a fool’s errand. Use all that energy to play hide and seek, so you get the biggest most authentic smile when you find them.
I see lots of one year photo session ideas…but the most recent one I photographed was just too cute. I had to share it with you! Instead of doing a cake smash, this mom put together a variety of edible finger paints. I love that moms are more conscious when it comes to what they are giving their children to eat. Not that I’m against a cake smash. If there’s a time to give your baby sugar, I think that’s the time!
This one year old’s favorite food is Fage yogurt. So, her mom used the yogurt to create finger paints. She put them in cute containers and dyed them with natural dye. We used a white piece backdrop paper for the floor. Hello, easy clean up! I got set to go and mom put her down. It was non-stop fun for a good 10 minutes! And I love the way the photos turned out.
I just finished up all my sessions for Mother’s Day. Even though, this photo obviously doesn’t include a mother, I wanted to share it. I love those impromptu moments where you’re not planning on shooting something, but you just look over and BAM, perfect moment. I love hands-on dads too. They make a shoot fun!
Also, Budapest. Are you into this song? I’ve been listening to it while I edit. I actually had to look up the lyrics. You know those songs you sing along to and then realize you’re not singing actual words at certain points. If you haven’t heard it yet, listen here.
Have you looked around lately? Have you noticed how green everything is!? The fact that we finally got some rain in Southern California is making it even more beautiful than normal. It’s the perfect time to do Spring mini-sessions.
I’m setting up 2 different locations…one in Orange County (Trabuco Canyon to be exact) and one in Los Angeles (Temescal Canyon specifically). Both are green and gorgeous right now.
Here’s the details…it’s $100 session fee to hold your spot. The sessions are about 20 minutes with a little buffer time in between clients. Then you’ll pay an additional flat rate for all your digital images, depending if it’s just the kids or the whole family. Click here for all the details.
March 28 4:30, 5:00, 5:30 6:00 Trabuco Canyon
March 29 3:00, 3:30, 4:00, 4:30 Temescal Canyon
Kristin Eldridge holds Spring Mini-Sessions in Orange County and Los Angeles.
Babies can sense our energy. Have you noticed that calm people tend to have calm kids, in the same way high-energy people tend to have high-energy kids? When I’m doing a newborn session, I try to make sure that I create a soothing environment. Sometimes, babies are still settling in to this world. Most are under 14 days old when they see me in the studio. Isn’t that amazing! They’ve only been in this world, breathing the air, listening to the sounds and feeling the texture for a handful of days.
Here are a few things that I do to help create the right environment for a newborn photo session.
1. My studio is heated. The studio is a small guest house with central air/heating, so I’ll turn on the heat a moderate amount to create a comfortably warm space. If it’s a summer afternoon, I won’t need to turn on the heat, it’ll naturally be warm enough. If it’s a chilly day, I’ll use a space heater to direct more heat toward the baby. Why does it need to be so warm? Babies have been living in the womb for the last 9 months where the temperature was a cozy 98.7 degrees.
2. I use a white noise machine. This $20 device from Target is a life-saver. Sometimes older siblings with loud voices will be in the studio with the baby. Other times newborns are so sensitive that the sound of my shutter will startle them. The white noise machine is set on a soft heart beat sounds and it muffles all the noises to create an environment like they were used to in the womb.
3. The decor of my studio is very soft in color and pattern. I want parents to walk in and immediately feel comfortable. While I love color and pattern in my other photo sessions, a newborn session should be soft and sweet. Colors and patterns will compete with the sweet newborn baby instead of complimenting their skin tones and soft features.
4. Before the session, I make sure that I’m not running around trying to get things done. I like to come in with a calm demeanor. I’ll light a candle with a very soft scent. I like Voluspa candles in the studio. Just make sure to select a scent that’s not too over-powering. I want to make sure that I am personally in a space where I won’t get frazzled if a baby is fussy or a toddler sibling doesn’t want to cooperate. If I come from a calm place, I’ll be able to think clearly and problem solve to make sure to get the most out of every newborn photo session.
The following photos were taken by newborn photographer (long beach, ca), Kristin Eldridge.
I just finished up the Neighborhood sessions and I have to say, I’m sad they’re over. For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been walking around my neighborhood, just having fun with all my favorite little people. It is such a simple concept, but sometimes those are best! When there’s only 15 minutes to dance around the sidewalk and be silly it puts the focus less on posing and more on authentic smiles.
// Photos taken in Long Beach by Long Beach Family Photographer, Kristin Eldridge.
I’m starting a new series for the last 2 weeks of June. It’s a simple concept…just my favorite walls around the neighborhood. I’m starting with these three…ivy covered, aqua and rich wood.
Here’s how it works: It’s $150 for a 15 minute session and 15 digital images for you to print and share. This can be for families, kids, dogs, grandparents…whoever you want to fit into your 15 minutes! You get to pick your date and time (June 16-28) from whatever I have available in my schedule.
How to book: Email or call (contact buttons on the left) and let me know your choice of date/time and your favorite wall!
I wish I could show you my ten year school photo. Let me re-phrase…you would die laughing if you saw me at ten. Spoiler alert: the photo was heavy on the perm, the oversize glasses and the turtleneck. When I look at my daughter who just turned ten, I’m blown away at her maturity. The way she handles herself and moves through the world is much older than ten. And I mean that in a good way. Yes, she has her tween moments, but she has a lot of grace about her too.
For her ten year photos, I wanted to follow the jacarandas. Every year I say I’m going to. In Long Beach, May gives way to purple. We drive under violet clouds and crush them with our feet with ever step on the sidewalk. Long-time residents hate them and Brent even said he didn’t want to buy a house that lived under a jacaranda tree. Their sticky sap can ruin carpets and paint jobs alike.
Jillian and I found a little cluster in Long Beach to do our photographs. By mid-May, the branches were already starting to look a little bare. But, now that we sit near the last day of may, I’m so glad that we made the time. Their brief month of beauty is almost now forgotten. Just like how nine years flew by. And here come the double digits…
// Photographs taken in Long Beach by a Long Beach Family Photographer, Kristin Eldridge.